This World Noise Cancelling Prototype Is Well Worth Your Attention


Perhaps I’m just odd (I’ve been accused of it before), but I really enjoy the sounds of the city in my apartment. Much like staying inside and listening to the rain, there is a certain joy that comes from absorbing yourself in the world outside while also enjoying the comforts of your home.

However there are times when the hustle and bustle of the city is not the optimal soundtrack for your relaxation. Sure you can play some music or ambient noises to drown them out, but the effect can be quite harsh and serve as a poor substitute or combatant to the ambience of the outside world.

Designer Rudolph Stefanich apparently felt the same, which may explain what led him to design a world noise canceller prototype of sorts called the Dial it Down.

Featuring a touch controlled dial and affixing to the inside of your window, the Dial it Down acts much like a pair of noise cancelling headphones and can either tone down, or completely block the noise of the outside based on your settings. More impressive, though, may be its ability to filter and replace the exterior noise and turn it into something more docile like the sounds of nature or even just isolate certain noises until you’re hearing exactly what you want to in your home.

While still in the prototype stage, it’s clear that the complex design of the Dial it Down is more than just a whimsical notion and is realized enough to actually come to fruition. Let’s hope that is the case too, as its ability to allow the user to control the noise of their home in a more organic and natural way not reliant on blasting as many decibels as possible is a very desirable luxury.


This Water Fueled Jetpack Will Have You Thinking of Summer Long Before You Should


With the possible exceptions of the laser gun and the flying car, I feel the longest running sci-fi tech desire is the jetpack. Though we may have advanced in unthinkable technological ways since the first time someone came up with the idea of strapping rockets to your back and soaring through the world with absolute, and badass, freedom, there still remains a great interest in popular culture concerning the classic idea of the jetpack, despite the number of practical barriers impairing it from existence.

The always entertaining folks at Hammacher and Schlemmer offer up the newest interpretation of the jet pack design, by taking the concept out for a swim with the Hyrdo Powered Jetovator.

This seat with dual throttle controls is powered by a 40 foot hose which supplies the main component the user rides on with enough water to support its three jet propulsion system, which both gets it airborne and keep it afloat. Capable of speeds up to 25 MPH (upwards?), the ferocity of the Jetovator is not in question, nor is its maneuverability, as through the throttles the user can allegedly perform a variety of aerial stunts which include barrel rolls, flips, and even underwater dives.

Though conversations of safety and practicality can often hamper any gadget discussion, here the questions are impossible to ignore as every capture of the Jetovator in action instantly conjures the image of something going terribly, terribly wrong. However, part of the appeal of the jetpack design has always been its carefree disregard of practicality, which is one aspect of the traditional model the Jetovator nails on the head. You can only imagine the sheer joy that comes from using this thing successfully before those brief moments where everything goes terribly, terribly wrong.

I say “only imagine” because with a $7,000 price tag, this isn’t likely to become a household item any time soon. It is a reasonable facsimile of a water fueled jet pack though, and is well worth cozying up to as many rich folk as possible just on the off chance they’ll purchase one for the summer and let you have a go on what just may be the most dangerously exciting aquatic gadget produced yet.


Popular Motion Technology “Leap” Reaches Deal With HP

Back in May of last year (essentially prehistoric times in technology talk) I wrote about the Leap Motion, a movement based control system for PCs that was rapidly gaining popularity in tech circles thanks to some impressive demos that had people wondering if it may just be the first viable motion based system. Fast forward to the present day, and the Leap continues to gain popularity for its non-invasive and highly functional design that not only amazes with its abilities, but its practicality as well.

HP seems to feel the same, as they’ve recently unveiled a new model of their Envy laptop line that will come with the Leap Motion installed, a first in the computer industry.

While most of the Leap’s functions are still focused on simple navigation tricks that are especially handy for the Windows 8 OS the Envy will sport, you’ll also get several specifically designed programs for the device pre-installed, such as a 3D modeler and five Leap based games when you purchase the $1,050 laptop.

Of course, as with many motion devices, the idea of buying a Leap or this Envy is the idea that you are buying into a future where several thousand programs and applications exist either specifically for the Leap, or with available support for it. While the impressive amount of currently available apps suggests that is not a future without hope, its still technology that is far from standard.

As such this Envy may be an early adopter’s buy, but it looks to be a pretty damn nice one. So while the Envy’s overall specs will probably be a better indicator as to the validity of the machine as an overall purchase for the average consumer, as Kinect owners will tell you, even when motion controls don’t always exhibit their full potential, they tend to still remain impressively entertaining.


Generate a Touch Screen Almost Anywhere With This New Software by Ubi

Touch screens have become so commonplace that it’s difficult to remember the thrill the mere idea of them once generated, or recreate that rush you got from actually using one the first time.

They are still incredible pieces of technology despite their prominence, and to help remind you of that comes a system called Ubi interactive that turns any hard surface into a touch screen.

Developed over several years by Ubi, and sponsored by Microsoft, the program uses a special projector, the always impressive (except when it comes to gaming) Kinect sensor, and a compatible PC. The projector displays the PC image onto the surface of your choice, and the Kinect lets you interact with it using many of the same gestures you do to interact with the touch screen of your favorite device.

The demo video shows off several uses for this tech (from museum guides, to boardroom presentations and retail displays) but from the looks of the technology’s accessibility and functionality, there are few public venues or businesses that don’t have some use for this technology, even if it is largely to make a cosmetic improvement over an existing function. Even in the home, where the Ubi loses some practicality, I’m sure it’s not hard to imagine an entertaining use or two.

Considering that the basic package of this software runs $499, you probably won’t be seeing as many companies that can potentially use this tech actually implement it, but this looks to be a finely honed piece of technology that will be popping up in offices, classrooms, and more very soon, and reminding everyone who encounters it just how incredible touchscreen technology is.


An Oil Free Deep Fryer for Those Starting Early Christmas Lists


I like to think of myself as a practical man who at least recognizes the rules of the world, even if I don’t always understand them, and doesn’t live to long with his head in the clouds pondering on impractical notions.

But for the life of me, I just don’t understand why dieting means I can’t eat fried foods.

Sure they’re just about the worst thing in the world for you, but they’re also really, really good. No that doesn’t justify them as a health food, but it’s not fair that we can’t eat the most delicious achievement in culinary evolution just because you can feel it chipping away at your life as it goes down.

Recognizing the problem lies in that delicious oil that frying takes, Hammacher Schlemmer have crafted a viable deep frying alternative that instead uses infared heaters to reach temperatures of up to 400 degrees and produce perfectly fried foods that are actually, if only slightly, healthier for you. You even get separate compartments so you can have even more slightly healthier for you deep fried foods.

Minor health element aside, the real appeal of the lack of oil to use this device is the fact that cooking oil for deep frying is actually incredibly expensive and, as news stories every Thanksgiving remind us, very dangerous if not handled properly. For $250 then, this is actually not an entirely impractical kitchen gadget, for those who want the ability to take a perfectly reasonable food, and deep fry the hell out of it at their leisure.